Laser Therapy


Laser Therapy treatment is a non-invasive therapy that makes use of intense beams of light of specific wavelengths to help reduce pain and inflammation. LASER stands for ‘Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.’  When the light of specific wavelengths are targeted to a particular area of the body, physiological changes take place in the cells. This process is known as photobiomodulation. In contrast to surgical lasers, the therapeutic lasers gently pass through the pet's skin without breaking the skin or causing discomfort.


There are various terms that have been coined to describe different types of LASERs used in therapy.  Some of these terms are "Cold Laser", "Low-Level Laser Therapy" (LLLT) or "High Power Laser Therapy" (HPLT), and these different terms have come about based on the different classes of therapeutic LASERs on the market.  These terms are often used incorrectly and can be misleading.  An all-encompassing and more correct term would be "photobiomodulation", or simply, "therapeutic LASER" or "LASER therapy".

There are two classes of LASER that can be used for therapeutic purposes in animals: Class 3b and Class 4. The difference between these two classes is in the amount of power, which determines the speed of energy delivery, and is measured in Watts (W).  A Class 3b LASER has a maximum output of 0.5W (or 500mW), whereas a Class 4 LASER is considered "high-powered" at greater than 0.5W.  The benefits to a higher powered LASER is the ability to deliver a large amount of energy to the tissues in a smaller amount of time.  This is advantageous when treating larger animals, like horses and large dogs, or larger regions of muscles, such as those along the back or around the hips.  

The downside to greater power is the production of heat, so the LASER must be continuously moved around to avoid heating up the tissues too much.  The benefits to a lower powered or "cold LASER" is that it does not produce heat, so a specific amount of energy can be targeted to reach directly into a joint or muscle insertion without the risk of the tissues heating up too much.  The LASER that we have here at Peak Animal Wellness Services is adjustable.  It is technically a Class 4, as it goes up to 12 Watts (we usually don't go above 6W in cats and dogs), but the power can also be decreased to 0.5W or less, allowing it to act like a Class 3b LASER.  Dr. MacKenzie will determine which settings are the most appropriate for the treatment, based on the desired effects.

Once the light energy reaches the target tissues, it actually stimulates the cell to increase the production of ATP (the form of energy required for life).  This increases the cell's ability to function.  Because the cell is working harder, blood flow is drawn to the area (through vasodilation), which delivers nutrients and anti-inflammatory mediators to the area.  All of this results in a reduction of pain and inflammation, as well as increasing cell turnover rate and healing time. LASER therapy is indicated for conditions that require tissue healing, pain relief, or reduction of edema (swelling) and muscle spasms.  

Conditions that can be treated with LASER therapy include:

  • Ear infections

  • Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD)

  • Hip or elbow displasia

  • Post surgical or conservative management of a cranial cruciate ligament rupture (aka “ACL” in people)

  • Tendonitis

  • Cystitis (including idiopathic or stress cystitis in cats)

  • Lick granulomas

  • And more… 

  • To enquire if LASER therapy might be a valuable treatment option for your pet, call or email us today!